Basketball – Haddadi pens contract with Sichuan Whales, looks to the future

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3,554 views – SICHUAN, Despite multiple signs of interest from various NBA teams, the best center in Asia, Hamed Haddadi, has signed with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Haddadi has reportedly worked out with a handful of teams showing interest to sign him, such as the New York Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz just a week ago, although on Friday the 7’2 center preferred a 1.3 million dollar one-year contract offered by the defending Chinese champions.

Haddadi also recently won the Asian Club Championship with Persian club Foolad Mahan over Al Rayyan of Qatar, dropping 27 points, snatching 17 rebounds, and added 4 blocks in the final.

In August, the former five year NBA center was named most valuable player of the Asian Basketball Championship, beating the hosts Philippines 85-71 in the final, contributing a tournament-high 29 points and 16 rebounds to Iran’s victory.

Haddadi joined the NBA in 2008 with the Memphis Grizzlies, gaining four years of experience but earning averages of less than two points and six minutes of play a game with the club.

Just last year Haddadi was signed by the Phoenix Suns mid-season, putting up the best performances of his career for the team. Haddadi earned a career high 11 rebounds against the Rockets, widely credited for the critical 107-105 win. In his last match for the Suns, Haddadi also put up 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks in less than 20 minutes of play.

The Iranian became a fan favorite by Sun’s fans, earning the renowned slogan “Who’s Your Haddadi” for his big left-handed jams and hustle on the boards, when both center’s Marcin Gortat and Jermaine O’Neal were unavailable, leaving Haddadi to be the only real center on the Sun’s roster.

Although becoming a prominent figure in Phoenix, Hamed was waived by the Sun’s in the offseason.

Looking to the future, 28 year-old Haddadi will begin the season with the Sichuan Whales in November, possibly moving back to the NBA when the season routinely ends in late March/April.


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